Cubs starter Yu Darvish is a clear NL Cy Young Award candidate in this strange, short 60-game season.
If that wasn’t clear already, his seven-inning outing against a scorching hot White Sox lineup furthered his case.
Darvish tossed seven innings of one-run ball, allowing six hits and one walk while striking out 10. He was the catalyst in Sunday’s 2-1 win over the Sox, who limited the Cubs offense to five hits and two runs, both on a Kyle Schwarber long ball.
Takeaways from the game:
Already up 1-0 against a scuffling Cubs offense in the fifth, the White Sox were threatening again. Yoan Moncada stepped into the box with runners on second and third with two outs, a swing away from putting the Sox up by at least two runs.
Moncada went down 0-2 before battling back to make it a full count. Darvish reared back and challenged the Sox third baseman with a 98 mph sinker down in the zone.
Moncada foul tipped it into Victor Caratini’s glove for strike three, and Darvish unleashed a fist pump and roar as he left the mound. The White Sox had two hits the rest of the game.
In six starts this season, Darvish holds a 1.70 ERA with 44 strikeouts and six walks.
Craig Kimbrel’s quest for a fourth straight good outing started off promising, thanks to his curveball.
Kimbrel came on for the eighth inning Sunday and started with back-to-back strikeouts (Tim Anderson, Moncada) on the curve. Anderson’s AB started with the breaking pitch, fooling him into leaning back before it hit the inside part of the strike zone.
Kimbrel walked the next two guys — Yasmani Grandal and the red-hot José Abreu — to end his outing. He only threw five fastballs compared to 14 curveballs and threw eight pitches for strikes. He got Abreu to a full count after going down 3-0.
Home run derby
Abreu's second-inning home run continued a ridiculous stretch for the White Sox offense. They hit 12 homers this weekend, which supplied all of their offense. Abreu was most impressive, hitting six over the three games.
The Cubs, meanwhile, only hit one this weekend and it was enough to win Sunday. Kyle Schwarber's two-run blast in the sixth made it 2-1, the game's final score.
“Absolutely. “Rizz was saying the leadoff spot here’s cursed.” –Kris Bryant on whether he’d be open to moving down in the lineup once he returns.
The Cubs are off to Detroit for a three-game set with the Tigers. Monday’s first pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. and Alec Mills and Tigers top prospect Casey Mize are the probable starters.
José Quintana, Tyler Chatwood, Colin Rea and Adbert Alzolay are options to start Tuesday, David Ross said Saturday. Jon Lester will start Wednesday.